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Germany will not boycott the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Felix Tamsut
October 12, 2021

Though the majority of Germans favor of boycotting Qatar 2022, DFB vice president Peter Peters says Germany will take part, citing "progress" made. He said he had no reason "to cast doubt on" Qatar's conduct.

Germany players wore T-shirts drawing attention to Human Rights issues earlier this year
Germany players wore T-shirts drawing attention to Human Rights issues earlier this yearImage: Tobias Schwarz/Getty Images/AFP

Germany became the first national team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after beating North Macedonia 4-0 in Skopje on Monday.

Earlier Monday, the German football association (DFB) published an interview on its website with vice president Peter Peters in which he was asked about the possibility of Germany's boycotting the tournament because of Qatar's human rights record.

"Despite being demanded by some, a boycott will not bring [Qatar] and its people forward," the former Schalke director said. "Nongovernmental organizations and other experts have confirmed in our discussions that Qatar is a land in transition."

According to the DFB man, Qatar has seen "many positive developments" in the past few years, and it is football's role to support those developments.

No reason for doubts

"I have no objective reason to cast doubt on the honest and decent conduct of the Qataris," Peters said.

Peter Peters speaks into a microphone with the logos of various sponsors behind him
Peters says Qatar is making progressImage: Thomas Boecker/DFB/EIBNER/imago images

A day before the interview had been made public, a report in Germany painted a different picture of the outlook in Qatar. According to investigative sports show Sport Inside, by public broadcaster WDR, guest workers in Qatar still face many of the issues authorities claim to have been tackling. According to the report, many companies still do not pay the minimum wage of 1,000 Qatari riyals ($275, €240) a month, and many workers still experience monthslong delays in receiving their wages.

One former guest worker interviewed by the show says he's still owed seven months of wages. Another former worker said many of the changes promised by the Qatari authorities are "on paper only.”

Support for boycott

In Germany, calls to boycott the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have received support from within football and society.

A March 2021 poll by the magazine Der Spiegel found that 54% of Germans support such a boycott, with a further 14% offering conditional support. Furthermore, 72% said they'd want the DFB to be more vocal in criticizing the human rights situation in Qatar. Another poll, by public broadcaster WDR, found that 65% of Germans believe Germany should not take part in the 2022 World Cup.

A protest banner by Bayern Munich fans against their club's sponsorship deal with Qatar.
Protests against Qatar, such as this one at Bayern Munich in 2020, have become common in German footballImage: imago images/MIS

Organized fans, too, had their say about Germany's participation in the tournament. ProFans, an umbrella organization of Germany's ultra scene, demanded that the DFB do not take part in the 2022 World Cup due to the human rights situation in the country, calling the tournament "a lavish football festival on the graves of thousands of migrant workers."

Protests off the pitch

According to ProFans, Germany's taking part in the Qatar World Cup would signal "the end of ethics and dignity."

Organized fans across Germany have been protesting against the country's involvement in German football, mostly in connection with Bayern Munich's sponsorship agreement with Qatar Airways.

A total of 6,500 guest workers have died in Qatar since the World Cup was awarded to the country in 2010, according to British daily newspaper The Guardian.

Felix Tamsut Kommentarbild
Felix Tamsut Sports reporter@ftamsut